Johnston laughs at Phil Mickelson putting moving ball

Doug Mendoza
June 17, 2018

Apparently the thought of seeing the ball roll off the green was more than the freshly minted 48-year-old was ready to handle, so he gave it a hockey wrist shot back. I wasn't going to have a shot. "I would do it again". It's just simply that I wanted to get to the next hole and I didn't see that happening at the time. "He just laughed at me, he had no words to say".

However, 1995 US PGA Championship victor Elkington believes the USGA should have disqualified Mickelson, likely for a serious breach of rule 1-2, which states "a player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play".

"It's certainly not meant that way", he said. He acknowledged the ball would have rolled off the green and rather than try his luck from there, he took the 2-stroke penalty and moved on. Mickelson's bogey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he ran over and swatted it back toward the hole as the ball was still moving.

He could have been disqualified, however, had rules officials deemed it a serious breach of another rule that states "a player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play".

"That's basically his way of saying "that's it", former US Golf Association executive David Fay said.

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Australian major victor Elkington joined a chorus of former players and fans calling for five-time major victor Mickelson to be disqualified from the Shinnecock Hills event in NY after his weird meltdown. It's something you might see at your home course with your mates or something.

"[It was] just one of the mad moments, really", said the charismatic Englishman. "It was unusual, no one ever has those thoughts, it just happens".

"I said 'That's one of the strangest things I've ever seen". "I just finally did".

As for walking off the green chuckling, he insisted: "How can you not laugh?"

The flamboyant Daly, however, was already considered unpredictable, whereas Mickelson's reputation as American golf's golden man has been cultivated over nearly three decades of exemplary behavior on the course.

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